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The word “survivor” has emerged strongly within our cultural lexicon due to more forward-facing, high-profile cases of sexual perpetration, thus establishing a social declaration for sexual healing and empowerment. We can no longer avoid hard truths—sexual abuse, assault, harassment and rape happen to one out of every six women and one out of every thirty-three men in the United States (rainn.org)—and the aftermath of these traumas include the burden of being believed in addition to a survivors’ often solitary journey toward mind/body health. Repairing what has been lost to sexual trauma is necessary, even vital, to the process of recovery, but it’s not enough. Surviving is the beginning though certainly not a sufficient or acceptable end.
This presentation explores what comes next in the process of a survivor’s recovery. Practitioners will learn how to help patients shift from surviving to thriving—from simply existing to fully living—by reimagining what their individual and relational evolutions entail. It draws from contemporary research in sex therapy and somatic psychology, offering theories and tools to ground survivors in concepts of safety, security, and trust, but also reaching further into the necessary terrain of vitality, freedom, healthy relationships and fulfilling sex. Through specific somatic sex therapy protocols and case studies, practitioners will learn to guide patients on a holistic journey toward the rediscovery of eroticism, both for themselves and in their intimate relationships.